This is Part 1 of a two-part series.
The New Year is an occasion many of us look forward to setting new goals and aspirations. Disconnect from your digital devices before bed. I have more time to spend with my friends. meditate Exercise. You don’t often see creativity on your list of self-care activities. However, evidence is accumulating that creativity can help us devise more effective emotion-regulation strategies, revitalize relationships, improve mood, and increase purpose and meaning in life.
Creativity can induce anxiety. To be creative, you have to face a blank screen or blank canvas, literally or figuratively. There is no roadmap because creativity means doing things that have never been done before. Nor do we know how others will react to our ideas and creations.
These are very real challenges. The good news is that there are two types of lessons that will help you. To overcome creativity anxiety, we must first understand how creativity works. Because relying on (common) misconceptions about creativity can make you misunderstand some aspects of the creative process, making you more anxious and ultimately discouraged. You need to think, manage the inevitable obstacles and challenges, and come up with strategies that you can ultimately turn your ideas into reality. In this post, I’ll cover 5 things you need to know about creativity, and in the next post, I’ll cover some useful creativity strategies.
Creativity can be big or small. And different kinds of creativity are important in different ways.
When asked for examples of creative individuals, geniuses like Nikola Tesla, Toni Morrison and Antoni Gaudi immediately come to mind. These individuals are examples of what scholars of creativity call his Big-C creativity. Their creative output has profoundly and lastingly impacted and changed cultures and the world at large. It’s understandable that these individuals come to mind first. Their creativity is evident, and we’ve heard a lot about them. , it’s easy to get depressed.
Luckily, creativity has a lot more to offer than Big-C. Creativity occurs in small ways in the learning process, such as when we connect new concepts with personal experiences, or when children independently discover new learning strategies. improve. Creativity is also present in our daily activities and interactions. You can come up with your own ways to cheer up a friend in a difficult situation. A teenager can design her own prom dress. Share your story at an open mic story slam event. These and similar acts of creativity can contribute to our well-being. Creativity also exists in professional environments, such as providing original ideas and developing new work processes and products. Recognizing the scope of our creativity helps us realize that we are creative too.
Creativity can be learned.
Our culture sends us the message that creativity is an innate ability, either you have it or you don’t. These messages are often implicit. So instead of being directly told that you have a certain amount of creativity, you get this message indirectly. We are not taught creative thinking or strategies for developing creative ideas in schools. And schools tend to teach skills that can be taught, right? At least we tend to assume that.
Media messages reinforce the idea that creativity is about innate ability. For example, the ‘Got Talent’ show started in the UK, followed by the US and from there spread to more than 69 countries around the world and was named by Guinness World Records as the most successful Talent His Show. The feedback competitors receive reinforces the idea that creativity is a “natural” talent. Comments such as “”[…] Requires raw talent andThat’s what we have.” Or, “You really have a natural soul. You really, really do.” It makes you think that success is something you are born with, not something you work on or learn.
Creativity scholars have repeatedly shown that creativity skills can be taught and learned successfully. It can also be learned at different ages, from infancy to adulthood. So it’s never too late to start learning.
Coming up with ideas isn’t the most important (or hardest) part of creativity.
Creativity and coming up with new ideas are often equated in our minds and media. Still, it’s clear to anyone who’s ever attended a brainstorming session that people are great at generating ideas. In fact, surveys of organizational leaders show that they believe employees have no problem generating ideas. The problem is realizing those ideas.
The hardest thing about creativity is committing to original ideas that have the potential to work for your audience and developing them through a non-linear, challenging process. When Steve Jobs unveiled his first iPhone, he didn’t invent touch screen technology. Rather, his greatest contribution has been to bring together various existing technologies, to be willing to scrap his first iPhone design when he failed to achieve his design vision, and to complete that vision. It was to strive to develop into
No, you are not alone. Creativity is an emotional roller coaster.
From anxiety before endless tasks, to frustration at obstacles to disappointment, and even anger at challenging feedback to pleasure, just as creativity requires a willingness to tolerate a certain level of risk. , requires a willingness to tolerate different emotions. of achievement. It is natural to want to avoid unpleasant feelings.
Experiencing difficult emotions can make you doubt yourself, become discouraged, or feel like giving up. It’s easy to think of difficulties as diagnostics of our lack of skills. Artists describe emotions in the creative process ranging from joy to melancholy to despair, designers talk about fear of losing potential and questions about where work is going, and science Participants describe the frustration of getting an idea and the agony of working on a work report. Knowing that difficult emotions are to be expected makes it easier to remember that experiencing them is temporary.
Creativity is associated with both vulnerabilities and strengths
Thoughts about the relationship between mental illness and creativity are widespread. I’ve seen movies about famous creators who self-harmed (e.g. Vincent van Gogh), experienced psychosis (e.g. John Nash), or committed suicide (e.g. Sylvia Plath). Want to get creative with this in mind?
Creative people have higher rates of mood disorders than non-creative people, but that’s not the only story. In addition to higher psychological vulnerability, creative individuals also have strengths that help them cope with challenges. Creative individuals, for example, have a sense of personal agency, which is their ability to contribute to achieving their goals, and can think of different ways to reach their goals. , a sense of growing and developing as a person over time, attributes of psychological well-being such as a sense of direction and purpose in life, and attributes of resilience (i.e., overcoming adversity and recovering). ).
Psychologists have repeatedly shown that the way we think about something greatly influences our behavior. This general lesson also applies to creativity. Given that creativity is innate, any difficulty or obstacle can seem to confirm our doubts and anxieties. Knowing that creativity can be learned makes us more likely to try. And when you’re wondering if you want to be creative, you can remind yourself of the potential benefits it can bring to your well-being.